OXNARD, Calif. — After months of talks, the Dallas Cowboys reached a one-year deal with veteran linebacker Anthony Barr on Wednesday.
The deal is for $2 million but could be as high as $3 million, a source told ESPN’s Todd Archer.
With the Cowboys keeping Micah Parsons in a multifaceted linebacker-thrower role in 2022, the team wanted to add a veteran assist alongside Leighton Vander Esch with no other ultra-experienced linebacker on the roster.
The Cowboys have second-year linebacker Jabril Cox who just tore his anterior cruciate ligament. Although he got off to a good start, he missed the last two days of work, although there doesn’t seem to be any concern about his status.
Barr, a four-time Pro Bowl draft pick, had a career-high three interceptions along with 2.5 sacks and 72 tackles last season, the latter being his third-highest performance in eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
The 30-year-old linebacker appeared in 11 games after undergoing right knee surgery that forced him to miss the first four games of the 2021 season.
He reworked his contract last March to allow himself to become a free agent after the 2021 season. After missing the last 14 games of 2020 after tearing a pectoral muscle against Indianapolis, Barr’s salary and bonuses were cut from $12.9 million to $10 million with a fully guaranteed base salary of $9.4 million.
Barr has experience with Cowboys senior defensive assistant George Edwards, who coaches the linebackers, from their time together in Minnesota.
The former UCLA star was former Vikings coach Mike Zimmer’s first pick in 2014 (ninth overall). Barr, a 3-4 outside linebacker in college, transitioned to an untraditional off-ball role in Zimmer’s 4-3 scheme, where he was used strategically on blitzes designed around his skills. According to data from Pro Football Focus, Barr was ranked the 12th best passing thrower in his position and 14th in coverage in 2021.
Barr wore the green dot on his helmet for most of his time at Minnesota and was instrumental in calling defensive plays on the field.
The last time Barr hit free agency in 2019, the linebacker verbally agreed to a deal with the New York Jets that would have paid him $15 million per season for five years, but he returned to the Vikings less than 24 hours later to sign up for far less money.
He has 495 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 5 interceptions in eight seasons.
ESPN’s Todd Archer and Courtney Cronin contributed to this report.